FOOD FUN SOUL SUN GREEN GROW FEBRUARY 2014
february fun In THE PATCH
D.I.Y guide to making your own sugo
+ lots more
ITâ€™s Time to pick your toms!
+ what else to harvest
Welcome to February in the patch We hope you had a well earned break and enjoyed lots of good times with family and friends over the christmas period. As we all settle back into the rythym of life, take a moment to reflect on what your would like to achieve in the garden this year. It may be something small like taking better care of your plants or perhaps there is a larger project you are ready to get stuck into. Whatever it is, February is the perfect month to start planning your green thumbs - check out our videoâ€™s online or pop in for a chat if you need a little inspiration. February is also the month for making sugo - when tomatoes are at their ripest and ready to be turned + bottled into a delicious sauce. We show you how to make your very own in this issue as well as plenty of other tips to ease you back into the gardening year. Until next month, Mat + Fab
Contents D.I.Y Sugo..............................3 What to plant in Feb..............8 Harvest time..........................9 In the Kitchen........................10 Pickled Fennel
1 Minute Skills......................11 Mulching
guide to fun + tomatoes
D.I.Y Sugo day is the Christmas of the edible gardening calendar and like Christmas it is something that builds well before the actual event. The key to enjoying the day to the fullest is in the preparation â€“ drinking beer to vacate the bottles, knowing the best source of saucing tomatoes and when to time your run, and of course, having a Nonna on hand to set the scene and the mood.
1. make a day of it Years ago we started the day well before the crack of dawn - more as showmanship of toughness than out of necessity - however these days we make a full day of it starting at a leisurely hour. Not only does this give the youngsters a chance of seeing the process but it also pulls drinking hour closer to the action and this is victory for all involved.
2. THE star INGREDIENT The key to good Sugo is good saucing tomatoes and when the time is right the wise guys move in on street corners flogging ripe romas by the Styrofoam box load. Any self respecting saucer should pay no more than $1 per kilo and the trick is to look with your nose; the tomatoes should be on the point of fermentation, bringing the sugars to the fore that in the end will create the best sauce. Roma tomatoes are renown for their pulp content and if all goes to plan you will achieve a 75-80% yield, meaning that one kilo will produce one Australian longneck of red nectar. This should give you an idea of what kind of drinking habit is required leading into the event.
watch the video
the Christmas of the edible gardening calendar + like Christmas it is something that builds well before the actual event. Sugo day is
D.I.Y 3. CHOOS E YOUR LEADE R When it comes down to the crunch, someone will need to stand up and take leadership throughout the day. Bottles need to be sterile, an array of pots and pans should be on hand, ready for action and the process needs to be seen out â€“ start to finish. One year when we all had a little too much Rose we forget to boil after bottling and over the coming months Sugo could be heard exploding throughout the cellar. So before you begin, look around the room, nominate a leader of man and woman and stick to the strategy.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE! Otherwise keep it simple â€“ your sauce should be a true representation of the produce. Other than a tickle of salt and basil, the flavouring of a Sunday night Ragu happens on that day, not this one. There is nothing worse than an overcomplicated Sugo, so keep your sauce pure, cap the amount of Rose Nonna can consume and confusion will be kept to a minimum.
Any self respecting saucer should pay no more than $1 per kilo. The trick is to look with your nose - the tomatoes should be on the point of fermentation.....
What to plant FEBRUARY
Cool/mountainous Beetroot Bok Choi/Pak Choi Carrot Chilli Herbs (all) Lettuce Rocket Radish Silverbeet Spinach Spring onion Strawberry Temperate Beans Beetroot Bok Choi/Pak Choi Carrot Herbs (all except coriander) Lettuce Rocket Radish Silverbeet Spring onion Strawberry
Tropical Beans Beetroot Bok Choi/Pak Choi Capsicum Chilli Cucumber Eggplant Herbs (all except coriander & dill) Lettuce Radish Rocket Spring onion Squash Strawberry Sweet corn
Sub tropical Beans Beetroot Bok Choi/Pak Choi Capsicum Chilli Cucumber Eggplant Herbs (all except coriander & dill) Lettuce Pumpkin Rocket Radish Silverbeet Spring onion Squash Strawberry Sweet corn Zucchini
= seedling = seed
What to harvest february Basil
(If youâ€™ve planted a few bushes and now wondering what to do with all the the produce, youâ€™re not alone. Roasted, souped, pied, curried or stuffed. Anything a zucchini can do....)
Beans (Our hearts become fuller with ripe tomatoes on the bushes and this is the time of year when we are most loving. Sweet and sugary when flavoured on the vine, plan a harvest for homemade Sugo and make a Sunday of it.)
(Most commonly picked for its flowers, try taking the youngest, most tender leaves for a soup or garnish, delicious.)
recipe pickled fennel Pickled Fennel has a mild aniseed flavour and a lovely crunch which goes very well with smoked fish and cheese as part of an antipasto plate. It can also be added to sour cream, mayo and capers for a fancy coleslaw dressing.
inely sliced - 3kg fennel ffi inely sliced - 1kg red onion ffi - 2tbsp salt - 1.5 kg white sugar - 1.5 lit white wine vinegar - 1tbsp fennel seed - 1tbsp celery salt in - 3 long red chillies ffi inely sliced ffi
Finely slice the fennel and onion and place in a large colander, sprinkling each layer with some of the salt. Leave over a bowl overnight. This salting process not only draws water out of the vegetables, it gives it a lovely crunchiness. To make the pickling mixture, add the remainder of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the fennel and onion and bring to the boil again and simmer for a further 10-20 minute, depending on the desired end texture. Jar. Note: This recipe works well with just onion and itâ€™s quite fun to play around with the spices eg. Coriander seed and black mustard seed or caraway and cloves.
1 minute skills mulch
mulching is one of those gardening silver bullets that ticks all of the boxes
Just like Google, mulch is one of those rare noun/verbs that forever changes and redefines cultures and civilizations. From lucerne to pulverized sugar cane, pine needles to grass, pea straw to wood chips; mulching is one of those gardening silver bullets that ticks all of the boxes. It helps regulate soil temperature, keeps in moisture, suppresses weeds, and as mulch breaks down it provides valuable food to your patch.
There are two key points to understanding mulch.
1. Donâ€™t smother your seedlings. That means let seedlings grow to a respectable size (letâ€™s say 10cm) before laying it on thick. 2. Lay it on thick. We like to use the scientific hand measurement system. Anywhere between the 2nd or 3rd knuckle should do the trick. If plants are a little small and youâ€™re feeling dexteress, start with less mulch and then add bit more as they grow.
littleveggiepatch.com.au Nursery 2a Brighten Rd East St Kilda